Make Magic! Do Good!

November 2012. 112p. 978-0-76365-746-8. 17.99.
K Up–Clayton’s work continues to grow and be infused with love and artistry. The imaginative life of his poems is reminiscent of Shel Silverstein’s work. There is no sacrifice for the sake of rhyme; each one is just right and there’s plenty of wisdom and humor. In “Xavier Xing Xu,”  Xavier is disappointed that the world doesn’t contain more words like his name so he sets about finding friends to help “make it an art/to change all the S words/and put X at the start.” The results are quite funny. Roughly hewn mixed-media drawings of pig-nosed unicorns, furry fleas, dragons and turtles, whales and giraffes support the warm, light tone. Wise advice is gently handled in a short verse that considers how it may not be best to be first: “second place may do just fine/in a race to hug a porcupine.” Clayton wants to “share his happiness with you.” This is an uplifting read, a little wonder that speaks of the magic and good in everyone and the importance of following one’s dreams.–Teresa Pfeifer, Alfred Zanetti Montessori Magnet School, Springfield, MA
Some silliness and some sweetness help the didacticism go down in this collection of light, mostly rhyming verse. Not all of Clayton's poems offer conspicuous lessons, but most promote positive behaviors such as building friendships or fostering kindness; the preachiness is mitigated by the goofy illustrations, the best of which are a tad reminiscent of James Marshall.

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